Daytona Beach, Fla – For the second straight year, Hendrick Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing each saw their cars reach victory lane in the Can-Am Duels at Daytona on Thursday night. Chase Elliott won the first Duel tonight while Denny Hamlin drove the drove to victory lane in the second one. It showed that both organizations once again will be the ones to beat for Sunday’s 59th annual Daytona 500 (1 p.m. ET/FOX/MRN).
But, if you look a little deeper, you would see that Hendrick and JGR’s victories on Thursday just added to their standglehold on Duel race winning trophies.
Since 2014, no one outside of the two organizations have driven to victory lane at the Daytona International Speedway in either of the two Duels. Tonight though, marked the seventh and eighth straight victories for these two teams.
Denny Hamlin and Matt Kenseth gave JGR a clean sweep of the Duels in 2014 while Dale Earnahrdt Jr. and Jimmie Johnson gave Hendrick a sweep of the races in 2015. The next year, Earnhardt Jr. and Kyle Busch reached victory lane in 2016.
Tonight, Elliott and Hamlin added to that prestige. Even more dominating, they duo combined to lead 89 of the 120 Laps on Thursday. Dale Earnhardt Jr. led 53 laps, Chase Elliott 25, Kyle Busch 7 and Denny Hamlin 4. The only other drivers to lead was Brad Keselowski who led 28 laps and Ryan Blaney with three laps led of his own. Both are Penske power.
We’re a year away from the Can-Am Duels in 2018, but Hendrick and JGR will most definitely be the teams to beat again.